Movie Review: Death to 2020


Media by Netflix (screencapture)

According to Netflix, 86% of viewers liked Death to 2020 — likely earning it a higher general approval rating than the year itself.

A year of impeachments, pandemics and protests is brought back to life through the Netflix mockumentary “Death to 2020,” which describes last year as “as unpredictable as an ape with a hockey stick.”

Directors Al Campbell and Alice Mathias add a satirical twist to the film that sheds a comic light on the serious political and social justice issues of 2020; opening scenes of the film involve clips and narration reviewing these major events, summarizing the woes the year brought and ending appropriately with a scene of a large explosion.

The cast is stacked with major names: Samuel L. Jackson plays a reporter for the New Yorkerly News, Lisa Kudrow represents a conservative spokesperson, Hugh Grant is a historian and Leslie Jones plays a behavioral psychologist. Other star characters include a scientist explaining technical facts about COVID-19, a self-proclaimed “soccer mom” with uptight and conservative ideals and an average citizen who shares her experience in living through quarantine.

Anyone can find a person to relate to in this movie; varying characters in the mockumentary allow for a wide range of perspectives. By stereotyping each group, the directors create one person to encompass the lives of up to millions. 

The chronological organization is also a point of praise. It allows viewers to fully live through the year once again, this time accompanied by a narration of witty remarks and quick stabs at politicians. This humor removes some of the soberness from situations and is a refreshing take on grave cultural impacts.

Commentary provided by Laurence Fishburne is truly what sets this film apart from other 2020 media and defines its status as a mockumentary. Deadpan humor is not in short supply in “Death to 2020,” and writers did not shy away from controversial subjects. When describing new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s stance on abortion, a character joked that Barrett must be “secretly bankrolled by the wire hanger industry” due to her opposition to legal abortions. Additionally, several jokes were cracked at the expense of major politicians and celebrities, including a comment comparing presidential debates to a “rap battle in a senior home.” 

“Death to 2020” is the perfect close to an awful year. Watching the events of last year unfold again is a travel in time. I remembered hearing about Trump’s impeachment trials, worrying about a possible third world war, and seeing Black Lives Matter protests on the news. I thought it would be hard to relive so many negative moments, but the comedy infused in this mockumentary made me laugh at the craziness. 

It also reminded me that I was not alone. Billions around the world lived through 2020 and few probably view it positively, but we all made it through together.